El Paso Newspaper Account of the Death of John Wesley Hardin, 1895
The following is an account of the death of notrious gunslinger John Wesley Hardin that appeared in the August, 20th, 1895 edition of the El Paso Herald newspaper of the death of John Wesley Hardin:
THE DEATH OF HARDIN
"Last night between 11 and 12 o'clock San Antonio street was thrown into an intense state of excitement by the sound of four pistol shots that occurred at the Acme saloon. Soon the crowd surged against the door and there, right inside, lay the body of John Wesley Hardin, his blood flowing over the floor and his brains oozing out of a pistol shot wound that had passed through his head. Soon the fact became known that John Selman, constable of Precinct No. 1, had fired the fatal shots that had ended the career of so noted a character as Wes Hardin, by which name he is better known to all old Texans. For several weeks past trouble has been brewing and it has been often heard on the streets that John Wesley Hardin would be the cause of some killing before he left the town.
“Only a short time ago Policeman Selman arrested Mrs. McEose, the mistress of Hardin, and she was tried and convicted of carrying a pistol. This angered Hardin and when he was drinking he often made remarks that showed he was bitter in his feelings towards young John Selman. Selman paid no attention to these remarks, but attended to his duties and said nothing. Lately Hardin had become louder in his abuse and had continually been under the influence of liquor and at such times he was very quarrelsome, even getting along badly with some of his friends. This quarrelsome disposition on his part resulted in his death last night and it is a sad warning to all such parties that the rights of others must be respected and that the day is past when a person having the name of being a bad man can run roughshod over the law and rights of other citizens.
This morning early a Herald reporter started after the facts and found John Selman, the man who fired the fatal shots, and his statement was as follows:
"I met Wes Hardin about 7 o'clock last evening close to the Acme saloon. When we met, Hardin said, "You've got a son that is a bastardly, cowardly son of a b— .'
"I said, "Which one?"
"Hardin said: 'John, the one that is on the police force. He pulled my woman when I was absent and robbed her of $50, which they would not have done if I had been there."
"I said: 'Hardin, there is no man on earth that can talk about my children like that without fighting, you cowardly s — of a b — ."
"Hardin said: 'I am unarmed.'
"I said: 'Go and get your gun. I am armed."
"Then he said, 'I'll go and get a gun and when I meet you I'll meet you smoking and make you pull like a wolf around the block."
"Hardin then went into the saloon and began shaking dice with Henry Brown. I met my son John and Capt. Carr and told them I expected trouble when Hardin came out of the saloon. I told my son all that had occurred, but told him not to have anything to do with it, but to keep on his beat. I also notified Capt. Carr that I expected trouble with Hardin. I then sat down on a beer keg in front of the
Acme saloon and waited for Hardin to come out. I insisted on the police force keeping out of the trouble because it was a personal matter between Hardin and myself. Hardin had insulted me personally.
"About 11 o'clock Mr. E. L. Shackleford came along and met me on the sidewalk. He said: "Hello, what are you doing here?'
'Then Shackleford insisted on me going inside and taking a drink, but I said, 'No, I do not want to go in there as Hardin is in there and I am afraid we will have trouble.' Shackleford then said: 'Come on and take a drink anyhow, but don't get drunk.' Shackleford led me into the saloon by the arm. Hardin and Brown were shaking dice at the end of the bar next to the door. While we were drinking I noticed that Hardin watched me very closely as we went in. When he thought my eye was off him he made a break for his gun in his hip pocket and I immediately pulled my gun and began shooting. I shot him in the head first as I had been informed that he wore a steel breast plate.
As I was about to shoot the second time some one ran againstme and I think I missed him, but the other two shots were at his body and I think I hit him both times. My son then ran in and caught me by the arm and said: 'He is dead. Don't shoot any more.' "I was not drunk at the time, but was crazy mad at the way he had insulted me."
"My son and myself came out of the saloon together and when Justice Howe came I gave my statement to him. My wife was very weak and was prostrated when I got home. I was accompanied home by Deputy Sheriff J. C. Jones. I was not placed in jail, but considered myself under arrest. I am willing to stand any investigation over the matter. I am sorry I had to kill Hardin, but he had threatened mine and my son's life several times and I felt that it had come to that point where either I or he had to die.
(Signed.) JOHN SELMAN.
----- El Paso Herald, August 29, 1895
Beauty is only skin deep but Texas is to the bone.